Originally aired on WRAL-TV – October 11, 2017
A Raleigh 7th grader is turning his experience as a bullying victim into a teachable moment. Twelve-year-old Brenden Santos is now the author of three books and the designer of wristbands to promote the end of bullying.
Santos said he knows exactly how it feels to be bullied. He was picked on, teased and punched by classmates in elementary school. His mother eventually pulled him out – and enrolled him in the North Carolina Virtual Academy.
“We heard that NCVA was bullying-free and a school where everyone was safe, sound and happy,” Santos said. In his new school program with virtual classmates, Santos said he began to thrive.
“Your personalities meet before your eyes,” he said. “So you meet your voices and your personalities before you actually see what other people look like.” A teacher encouraged him to write during a holiday break. “And I just wanted to make people feel great, so I just thought up this story,” he said.
His original story about friendship led to another about bullying. He then published a third book, which led to launching a website, againstthebullying.com, a wristband program and a full-fledged campaign run from Santos’s bedroom.
“It feels like I’m slowly creating a great message that could help a lot of people,” he said. The former victim of bullying is now a confident young man, setting out to change the world. “I had no idea that I could do this much,” he said. “Until I did it.”